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The Case for Real Women

Women in advertising, media, and the world as a whole is a hotly debated topic at the moment. Just this week Nobel award winning scientist Tim Hunt was quoted saying, “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.” Obviously an absurd statement.  One that has brought feminism back to the foreground – with a capital F.

Looking at advertising and media, there have been several campaigns that have used the rise in feminism to create some great work, look no further than sure-fire Cannes winner ‘Always – Like A Girl’, to see an example of just this.

However, a recent article said that women feel “liberated and empowered” by women just like them appearing in the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.

The ad showed women – normal women – exercising. Have you ever been in the gym and seen a woman working out and felt liberated? No! The answer is no.

The campaign is a great behaviour changing piece of communication. However, the fact that women felt “liberated and empowered” is incredibly eye-opening for those of us in the industry. Is it really such an anomaly to see normal women in advertising and media?

Real women are everywhere – why are we not celebrating them more?

As marketeers we need to remember to not sell our audience the outdated fairy tale and instead sell them reality.

Some of the best female focused marketing of the last decade has been the most truthful, for example, Dove; Real Women, Fiat; The Motherhood and even Under Amour’s Misty Copeland campaign – whilst aspirational it showed a female muscular athletic body in all its strength.

When are we going to stop showing Stepford-esque women and start showing the real, modern, imperfect truths?


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Rosie Lewis works as a Creative on OMD’s very own Creative Team. She is always seeking out inspiration and innovation. She loves sharing her passion with others and is likely to be found writing about empowering, interesting and real communication ideas.

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